SD/HD/UHD & SDR/HDR Video Workflows At NAB 2024

Here is our run down of some of the technology at the 2024 NAB Show that eases the burden of achieving effective workflows that simultaneously support multiple production and delivery video formats.

The consumer demand for ever higher resolution and the immersive indulgence of HDR continues to grow across a multitude of consumer devices and delivery media. Satisfying that demand requires a set of decisions about which formats to capture in and where in the production supply chain cross conversion may be needed. Traditional wisdom dictates that one should always capture at the highest resolution possible and down-convert as required, but with HDR to SDR this can prove troublesome. Expect debate over whether it is easier and perhaps even more effective to capture SDR and up-convert – we have heard conflicting views. The visual challenges are combined with new workflow challenges; the rise of distributed teams, remote production, hybrid SDI-IP infrastructure and the incorporation of new cloud-powered software centric workflows. The technical challenges are diverse but thankfully vendors rise to the challenge with cross-conversion technology in flexible forms that can be fitted into various stages of production workflow.

On the 2024 NAB Show floor expect to see a wealth of technical innovation and a diverse selection of technologies that mean the precise combination of features, functionality and hopefully budget to suit your very specific requirements is there somewhere.

Vendor Focus

The first four HOME Apps, released at the end of 2023, will be demonstrated in the Lawo exhibit.

The first four HOME Apps, released at the end of 2023, will be demonstrated in the Lawo exhibit.

Lawo (Booth C4410) will debut its new HOME Apps server-based processing platform that runs on standard servers. Lawo HOME Apps address a range of different aspects of creative production workflow.

The ‘HOME Stream Transcoder’ App performs SD, HD, UHD, and 3G conversion with SMPTE ST2110-20/22, NDI, SRT, and JPEG XS I/O.

The Lawo ‘HOME UDX ­Converter with HDR processing’ provides video format and aspect ratio conversions. It offers a deinterlacer, HDR/color processor, a scaler, and two outputs. Each output can use a different format with a different overlay, and can be set to “i” or “p”. It delivers conversions between SD, HD, 3G and UHD as well as ST2110, SRT and NDI in the HOME Apps ecosystem. One example would be: UHD to both 3G and HD, either with or without graphics, e.g. for simultaneous “clean” feed and “dirty” feed output during global events.

Users can also perform conversions from one protocol (e.g. ST2110) to another (e.g. SRT) as well as from HDR to SDR and vice versa in HLG and PQ using 3D LUT (.cube) tetrahedral interpolation.

Apantac (Booth SU7014) will be showing its newest “SDR <> HDR Up/Down/Cross Converter for the openGear Platform,” the OG-HDR-UDX. The openGear device is Dashboard control enabled. It converts from SDR to HDR, HDR to SDR, either PQ or HLG. It also cross-converts from HDR to HDR from PQ to HLG and vice versa, and from HDMI to SDI and vice versa.

The Apantac OG-HDR-UDX is shown here with its optional I/O card attached.

The Apantac OG-HDR-UDX is shown here with its optional I/O card attached.

Another crucial feature is resolution/frame rate conversion with independent adjustments of the HDMI and SDI output. The OG-HDR-UDX card also contains a built-in test pattern for calibration and troubleshooting. The Apantac OG-HDR-UDX integrates Sublima SDR<>HDR Conversion technology from B-Com.

Arkona (Booth SU6037) will be showing its BLADE//runner line which offers the flexibility of a software driven environment and the scalable processing power of pooled FPGA hardware. The system is designed around the concepts of resource pooling, software defined functionality and an open and standard API in a fully IP environment. It allows for the creation, control, and deletion of all processing functions on the fly through a web-based UI, an open API, and through N-type metal–oxide–semiconductor (NMOS) technologies.

The Arkona BLADE//runner line is a flexible modular software framework that forms the foundation on which all additional processing apps are built.

The Arkona BLADE//runner line is a flexible modular software framework that forms the foundation on which all additional processing apps are built.

An ‘API First’ design approach allows powerful flexibilities where user specific workflows are at the center, and where an operator is no longer limited by static and proprietary “standard” operational models.

The BLADE//runner apps are designed to operate on the AT300 which is a modern FPGA Programmable Acceleration Card (PAC) with dual native true 100GE interfaces and high bandwidth memory (HBM). Designed to fit interchangeable modular rear-plates it is a great choice for hybrid applications that still require interfacing with legacy infrastructure.

BLADE//runner frames are available in 1, 2 and 3RU sizes that provide redundant power and optionally a centralized out-of-band management Gigabit Ethernet port (Electrical and Optical) that connects to all the cards in the frame. Designed around a backplane-free architecture where each card is independent, it is possible to easily scale a BLADE//runner system across multiple frames and multiple locations.

Riedel (Booth C4907) will demonstrate its MediorNet HorizoN distributed video infrastructures for routing, multiviewing and processing. It allows for hybrid solutions that combine the best of both worlds and support a smooth, incremental transition to IP workflows.

In addition to providing extensive and powerful video processing capabilities such as UHD up/down/cross conversion, SDR-HDR conversion, and color correction, the innovative hybrid processing platform blurs the boundary between SDI-based and SMPTE ST 2110 infrastructures with a dense array of UHD gateways. With its software-based app concept, HorizoN is set to bring next-level flexibility and simplicity to video ecosystems.

MediorNet HorizoN integrates core processing, routing, and conversion capabilities in a single RU, creating interconnectivity between all products and sites.

MediorNet HorizoN integrates core processing, routing, and conversion capabilities in a single RU, creating interconnectivity between all products and sites.

Designed to adapt and empower, HorizoN houses 16 independent and individually configurable processing engines within a single rack unit, facilitating flexible processing while seamlessly bridging the gap between baseband and IP systems. The platform provides up to 128 SDI - IP gateways, up to 32 channels of SDR-HDR conversion and color correction, or up to 16 up/down/cross conversions and color corrections. SFP-based baseband video I/O completes the package, making HorizoN an extremely versatile solution capable of handling even the toughest challenges in a modern production environment.

Blackmagic Design (Booth SL5005) will be demonstrating two models of its Teranex Standards converters that Blackmagic considers to be the ultimate. 

Teranex converters feature patented advanced algorithms that allow the processing of millions of pixels simultaneously in X/Y positions and between video frames.

Teranex converters feature patented advanced algorithms that allow the processing of millions of pixels simultaneously in X/Y positions and between video frames.

Teranex units are SD, HD and Ultra HD standards converters, designed to provide broadcast standard quality and speed. They offer up to 1089 conversions, a wide range of broadcast connections, low latency processing, HDMI loop through and more. They support up, down, cross and standards conversions between virtually all SD, HD and Ultra HD formats and frame rates, including 3:2 cadence removal and insertion. Featuring advanced patented algorithms, Teranex converters claim visually transparent, high quality conversions in full 10‑bit quality, complete with audio, closed captions, timecode and more.

Other NAB Show exhibits worthy of search for SD/HD/UHD and SDR/HDR Video Workflow solutions are AJA (SL3065), Grass Valley (C2308), Ross Video (SL2005) and Evertz (SU2027).

The Evertz RFK-ITXE-HW-DUO.

The Evertz RFK-ITXE-HW-DUO.

Evertz (Booth SU2027) will launch the new RFK-ITXE-HW-DUO media processing platform at NAB. Designed to meet the increasing demand for high-quality, multi-format, and multi-platform content delivery, the RFK-ITXE-HW-DUO offers a flexible and scalable platform. Each RFK-ITXE-HW-DUO can support up to 4 transcodes where each transcode can accept any of the following inputs: compressed input including JPEG XS, JPEG-2000, HEVC, H.264, and MPEG 2 or SDI and SMTPTE ST 2110 uncompressed inputs. Each transcode path includes a full up/down/cross conversion stage including an in line frame sync for video, audio, ancillary data, timing and color space based normalization. The output of each transcode path will provide a multi-stage output path handing off a SDI legacy output, a parallel uncompressed ST 2110 output, high bitrate mezzanine encode, low bitrate IPTV encode, and finally a parallel JPEG-2000 (or JPEG XS) high bitrate low latency output. The agile RFK-ITXE-HW-DUO can also allow for further unique scalability as processing blocks can be allocated dynamically.

Additionally, the RFK-ITXE-HW-DUO supports JPEG XS encode, for low-latency video compression wrapped in reliable transport offerings including Secure Reliable Transport (SRT) or Reliable Internet Stream Transport (RIST) that make the platform suitable for remote production and cloud-based workflows. The RFK-ITXE-HW-DUO also supports SMPTE ST 2110 (up to UHD) as well as SDR and HDR support, ensuring compatibility with expanding color space normalization requirements.

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